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Gol Gumbaz, 17th-century mausoleum topped with an acoustic marvel, Bijapur

Gol Gumbaz is a fabulously imposing structure, towering 51 meters above the surrounding city of Vijayapura and representing one of the most important examples of late-medieval Indo-Islamic architecture. Meaning “circular dome”, it is appropriate that this mausoleum is most famous for its massive crowning feature — which is not only architecturally impressive, but also houses a sonic funhouse.

With a diameter of 44 meters, the dome of Gol Gumbaz ranks among the largest domes of the pre-modern world and is supported by a series of interlocking arches without any columns. A balcony rings around the interior of the dome, creating the so-called “whisper gallery” where any sound, loud or quiet, is amplified and carried throughout the cavernous space, ringing off the concave walls and echoing back a dizzying number of times. In the dim twilight of the gallery’s interior, hovering 33 meters above the main chamber below, the effect is truly surreal.

Gol Gumbaz was built as a mausoleum for Sultan Mohammed Adil Shah, the seventh ruler of the Adil Shahi dynasty and head of the Bijapur sultanate. Construction began shortly after he ascended the throne in 1627 and apparently was not yet fully completed by the time he died in 1656, when work finally stopped.

Its massive single chamber covers 1,700 square meters and sits atop a basement tomb containing the remains of sultan, as well as those of his two wives, his mistress, his daughter and his grandson. Each corner of the building is graced by a seven-story-tall minaret containing stairs that provide access to the whispering gallery.

Gol Gumbaz is a tomb of Adil Shah in Bijapur, Karnataka. Its circular dome is said to be the second largest in the world after St.Peter's Basilica in Rome. A specialty is that, the central dome stands without any pillar support. Mohammed Adil Shah, the 7th ruler of Adil Shahi Dynasty, ordered to build this tomb before his death. The simple and elegant design of Gol Gumbaz still remains an architectural wonder of Bijapur Sultanate.

The acoustics of 'Whispering Gallery' is just amazing, even a small sound can be heard on the other side of the mausoleum. The four corners of the building have 7 floored towers, with staircases inside. One gets to see a beautiful view from these minars. The graves of Adil Shah, his wives and a few other family members can be found inside the building.

One small building which was earlier called Naqqarkhana (band room) has been converted into a museum. It has many artifacts and pictures belonging to Bijapur Sultanate. Today, Gol Gumbaz is one of the famous monuments and a must visit place in Karnataka.

The Majestic Gol Gumbaz

Gol Gumbaz is also called as Gol Gumbad which means a circular dome.

The Tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah

The Tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah Mohammed Adil Shah was the 7th ruler of Adil Shahi Dynasty. It is believed that Adil Shah wanted a mausoleum similar to Ibrahim Rauza, his father's tomb.

Whispering Gallery

Here even a faint sound echoes several times and can be heard on the other side of the gallery.

Interior View of the Dome

Interior View of the Dome The central dome is the second largest dome in the world. It actually stands without any support of pillars.

Gol Gumbaz Mosque

There is a mosque within the complex of Gol Gumbaz.

Entrance of Gol Gumbaz

It took almost 20 years to complete the construction of Gol Gumbaz. Adil Shah ordered to start the construction right after he ascended the throne of Bijapur Sultanate.

Naqqarkhana (Band Room)

This was the place where musicians used to play the music and the acoustics in Gol Gumbaz allowed the music to reach every corner.

Minars Minars

Gol Gumbaz has 4 minars, each has 7 floors with staircases. One can see a good view of

Quick Facts

Construction Started : 1626 AD

Construction Completed : 1656 AD

Maintained By : Archeological Survey of India (ASI)

Where is it Located : Bijapur, Karnataka, India

Why was it Built : To mark the tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah

Dimensions : 47.5 metres (156 ft) on each side, capped by a dome 44 m (144 ft) in external diameter

Materials Used : Dark grey basalt

Architectural Style : Deccan Indo-Islamic

Designer : Yaqut of Dabul

Visit Timing :10:00 AM to 5:00PM, all days of the week

Entry Fee : Rs. 10/- for Indian nationals and Rs. 100/- for Foreign nationals

How to Reach :

The nearest airport is in the town of Belgaum which is 205 KM from Bijapur.

Well connected by road with Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad, overnight journey in bus or car takes you to this monument. There are 10 and 7 numbers of weekly trains to Bijapur from Bengaluru and Pune respectively. Once inside the town, tourists can avail taxis or autos or may be horse-drawn carriages (tangas) if they are feeling adventurous.

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